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which suitcase?

Eleven years ago, I bought the RS rolling carry on for a trip to Europe. I liked the layout, the expand-ability and the light weight. There were some quality issues: the stitching came out on a corner the first time I used it and the wheels tend to lock. Now the outer zippers have lost their pulls, so it is time for a new bag. If I go with RS again, its either the rolling carry on or the Ravena rolling carry on (which has slightly greater capacity and is a bit heavier.). As a female of 77 years of age, a backpack is not an option. I will be using it as a carry on for my trip from the US to Europe as I worry about lost luggage. Any advice?

Posted by
1179 posts

All things being (more or less) equal I’d go for the lighter bag.

That said, there’s been a lot of development of roller bags in the last few years. I’d look around.

Posted by
4370 posts

This isn't an answer to your question, but I believe the RS cases are guaranteed, I think for life??

Posted by
7988 posts

Guaranteed if purchased from Rick Steves and not from another luggage store.

Posted by
3713 posts

As a female of 73 years with bad knees, my advice is to get the lightest roller bag you possibly can and stick to the overall carry-on dimensions of 22x14x9 including wheels and handles, or smaller and lighter. I haven't purchased an RS roller bag of any kind because the empty weight is higher than I want to start with.

I like Lipault or Eagle Creek bags.

I have a Lipault Plume spinner like this. Mine is older and heavier than the 4.9 pounds listed in the specs. It looks like the lavender is on sale and that there's a 15% off the other colors for new customers. You can get this bag from other sources like Amazon, Zappos and Luggage Pros. Different vendors may have different colors on sale.

Eagle Creek also has great bags and life time guarantees on some things. Their bags are very easy to manage due to the multiple grab handles. I have a 22x14x9 carry-on Load Warrior. It's no longer made, but there are lots of other low-weight options to choose from.

I recently bought the Eagle Creek International 20 Load Warrior. It weighs about the same as the new Lipaults. It's similar to this one, but an older model. As with other luggage, you can find Eagle Creek available from several online vendors.

The only thing I don't like about the new bag is that it has a T-shaped handle. U-shaped handles can take a tote with a sleeve slipped over them, making carrying my personal item easier. T-shaped handles don't work that way, but at least the new bag has an "Equipment Keeper" that can hold a jacket on top of the bag.

My new personal item is a very light (2.2 oz) cross-body bag that I'll just have to wear. My little purse should fit inside it, along with my electronics, meds and anything else I need on the plane.

I'll also be taking this very light (2.5 oz) backpack as a potential daypack, just in case.

Posted by
3335 posts

There were some quality issues: the stitching came out on a corner the
first time I used it and the wheels tend to lock.

When you contacted the RS store about the stitching and wheel problems that happened the first time you used it, did they send you a replacement or were you refunded?

Posted by
30 posts

The thing about the RS guarantee is that while it covers defects in material and manufacturing, rit excludes damage caused by airlines and that is where the problem usually occurs. I have a Costco Kirkland carry-on size that I bought years ago and it has been all over the country and even the world if I was going to check baggage. No tears, no damage of any kind. It is a trooper, but it weighs 18 lbs.

Posted by
2788 posts

I have taken RS roller bags to Europe for 16 of the last 18 years and only had a problem with one of them that I had use for a couple of years, where the telescoping handle would not stay locked down. I took it up the the RS headquarters in Edmonds, WA and they inspected it and determined it was a manufacturing defect and told me to go over to the suitcase display and pick out a brand new bag. I did that and asked what the charge would be and was told there was not any. Now that is great customer service. I was warned to keep the paperwork on the new suitcase incase anything happens in the future as they are only guaranteeing items purchased thru their store and not at any other outlets. I have traveled all over Europe from top to bottom and have never had a problem using the roller bag with its wheels.

Posted by
1141 posts

I have used the RS roller bag for years. I have had to replace twice because of zipper problems. I hope my latest replacement will last for a long time. I never check this bag so their lifetime guarantee is in play. It is a great bag and I like all the pockets and design. It isn't much heavier than others, maybe a couple of pounds.

If the main problem with your bag is damaged zipper pulls - you can just repair/replace the zipper pulls on your current bag. If you are just tired of your RS bag for multiple reasons - look at several bags before making a choice. Look at dimensions, weight, and features. Personally, I am not a fan of the Ravenna case.
I wouldn't expect much service from the RS company regarding your 11 year old case. You got your money's worth out of that one.
Check-out ebags.com (Ebags brand or samsonite). Also, eagle creek brand. There are lots of good options out there.

Posted by
108 posts

I too have used the Rick Steves 2 wheel rolling bag for years until finally after last trip a wheel and zipper had seen better days. Unfortunately since my last purchase and now, the sizing changed with the newer international carry on standard a few years back . Now neither bag meets my needs especially since I usually carry hiking boots.

Since I now check my bag but still pack light I found a bag that meets the US carry on standard , is light weight, expandable by a bit and important for me, has many pockets and organizing goodies. It is a Delsey Sky Max 2 wheeled roller. I will be using it for the first in an upcoming 5 week trip to Sicily and England. I have test packed it and it all fits quite well. Obviously I can't comment on the durability but it has good reviews. Here is a link to the manufacturer website but it can be purchased for less on various websites including EBags, Amazon, etc. Shop around

https://shop.delsey.com/product?variant=83707779-294d-48df-8adb-3f29e6dad7bf&redirectbypass=1&gclid=Cj0KCQjw4qvlBRDiARIsAHme6osTMEbXaoVkdQv9KYO4EgbOMdOAKNRKkKtDgQ1KRhSq4ds_Ji0SW7kaAhueEALw_wcB

Posted by
11435 posts

If you are willing to look beyond the Rick Steve's brand, you will find many bags made better and will hold up

Over the years I have purchased all the rolling RS bags. All had to be replaced because of manufacturing issues. None of my other bags--including Lipault, Eagle Creek, and Samsonite-- have given me any problems.

Posted by
154 posts

I have the RS rolling bag as well as the EC Load Warrior, which is now known as Gear Warrior. I don't know what changes were made to the new model, but it still has the T-handle.

Both are nice, lightweight bags, but I haven't owned them long enough to judge long term durability. My concern along with durability is meeting as many airline baggage regs as possible. The RS roller was perfect for a trip on Norwegian last year, and from what I can tell, will pass muster on most European international carriers.

Eagle Creek bags have always been winners in my book, and the "no matter what" warranty is solid. I'm not crazy about the T-handle (see previous post about not being able to slide a bag on top), but the Load Warrior is expandable and perfect for an "only bag" trip. It also holds a lot of stuff, and is kind of deceptive in its small size.

Given airlines' ever-decreasing luggage size rules these days, I recommend getting the "international" size of any bag if possible. The size difference is minimal, and if you follow the Gospel of Light Packing espoused here all the time, there's very little difference from a domestic-compliant 22-inch model.

Weight is also a factor of course, and those of us of "a certain age" have to be cognizant of that. Both the RS roller and the Load Warrior were easy to lift and carry when needed.

Bottom line is to find a "compliant" bag within your acceptable price range. I'm also a Travelpro fan, but they tend to be a tad heavier than many comparable models, though the newer Maxlite series looks pretty decent weight-wise.

Posted by
66 posts

Liz, you have got your money's worth from the RS rolling bag you purchased years ago. There have been upgrades since then to wheels, fabrics, and building lighter weight bags.

I'm another Travelpro fan, I own bags in the Maxlite 2 and 4 lines, also bags in the Platinum series. The new Maxlite 4 and Maxlite 5 bags are lightweight and affordable. I'm a few years younger than you and have zero issues lifting my Maxlite 4 spinner or roller into an overhead bin. That line is also easy to get on and off trains with, since I travel a lot by trains that's important to me.

I also like Eagle Creek rollers and spinners, but their price points are higher than most Travelpros. I wouldn't purchase a bag with a single-pole design as the extendable handle, there's no way to secure a personal item to a single pole.

Look carefully at dimensions, weights, and reviews before making your decision.

Posted by
52 posts

As I'm interested now in getting a roller bag, I have looked up some of the bags mentioned here and it seems that though they say they are compliant, they are actually different dimensions from domestic or international limits. Half an inch here or there will make the difference. This is very frustrating.

It's good that you are looking at dimensions. You can rule out a lot of bags that way. Look up the airline you plan to fly and get a bag to conform to its requirements. You will be safe with 20" x14" x9." This will work on nearly every airline. (Exception: African safaris require soft duffels. Some Asian airlines can be really picky.)

Posted by
67 posts

I’m a travel pro fan. I believe they have a carry on and also an international carry on that’s an inch smaller and suitable for the smaller airlines. Both are under 6 lbs. The regular carry on easily holds 4 medium packing cubes. I took mine to France and the cobblestones were a breeze!